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Insecurity, killer-herdsmen: Nigeria on the edge of precipice — Catholic Bishops Conference

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“The calls for secession on an ethnic basis from many quarters should not be ignored or taken lightly”

 

Apprehensive of the heightening level of insecurity in the country, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has warned that the geographic expression called Nigeria may collapse soon.

The country faces disintegration due to escalating insecurity with attendant widespread loss of lives and property from the activities of bandits, Boko Haram, killer-herdsmen and other criminal elements, the bishops said.

According to them, the country has remained together just by the grace of God.

“The survival of the nation is currently at stake. The clamour for self-defense is fast gaining ground.

“Many ethnic champions are loudly beating the drums of war, calling not only for greater autonomy but even for outright opting out of a nation in which they have lost all trust and sense of belonging.

“The calls for secession on an ethnic basis from many quarters should not be ignored or taken lightly.

“Many have given up on the viability and even on the desirability of the Nigeria project as one united country. No wonder many non-state actors are filling the vacuum created by a palpable failure of government,” the bishops said in a statement jointly signed by the CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze and the Secretary, Most Rev. Camillus Raymond Umoh in Abuja.

They noted that the insecurity had forced people to believe that those who had assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable or unwilling to take up the responsibilities of their office.

Calling on relevant authorities to act quickly, the clerics said:“The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari can no longer delay rising to its obligation to govern the nation; not according to ethnic and religious biases but along the lines of objective and positive principles of fairness, equity and, above all, justice.

“It is not too much for Nigerians to demand from Mr President sincerity both in the public and private domain. There are no more excuses.

“We, of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, with members from all parts of Nigeria, are very highly disturbed about the present state of instability in the land.

“This must not be allowed to continue to fester and degenerate. We are raising this alarm because of our deep patriotic love for our nation, not for any sectional interests, be they political, ethnic or even religious.

“Despite the persistence of crises around us; assassinations, Covid 19, kidnappings, murders, banditry, armed robberies, we sincerely affirm our faith in the viability and desirability of the Nigeria Project, as one prosperous nation under God.”

While pleading for unity, the bishops stated: “But we are also convinced that building such a nation, especially in our present circumstances, comes at a cost. We are also convinced that the alternative of tearing ourselves apart, comes with a cost that is far higher than what it takes to keep ourselves together.

“We must be ready to seek a common purpose with sincerity of mind.

“As individuals and as groups, we ought to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices that would enable us to manage our differences better and turn them into a positive rather than a negative force,” the men of God stressed, urging: “Governments at different levels ought to lead the way”.

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